Noctua NH-L9i Low Profile CPU Cooler for Intel - Closer Look and Installation

Article Index
Noctua NH-L9i Low Profile CPU Cooler for Intel
Features and Specifications
Closer Look and Installation
Test Setup and Testing
Final Thoughts and Conclusion

Closer Look:

We have to take a few minutes to take a closer look at this little cooler.  It is one of the most compact, stout and well-built coolers I've seen for a long long time and that's why I want to take you a little closer look at what makes this tick.

As you can see in the images below, the top and bottom views of this cooler are pretty much perfectly square and the cooler matches the size of the fan.  Noctua states they use a premium fan, and while it does spin up to a "speedy" 2500rpm, I never noticed that it made much noise at all.  At the screw holes, it has shock absorbing dampeners to help keep things quiet.  It works.

Top View
Top View

Bottom View
Bottom View

No fins where bent and everything looked top notch as we continue our look around this heatsink.  You really can't get the idea of how low this cooler is until you get down on it's level and look it in the eye.

Low Profile
Low Profile

Side Profile
Side Profile
 

 

The only part of the cooler that really doesn't impress me as much as it could is the actual bottom surface of the cooler.  The machining finish on the cooler is actually not very smooth and while good thermal paste fills in these marks and helps heat transfer better, the cooler would perform better if it had a flatter, smoother surface that made better contact with the surface of the CPU.

Machining Marks
Machining Marks

 

Before we install this cooler, I took one last picture of it lined up with the stock cooler and a large Thermaltake cooler for a size reference.

Size Reference

Installation:

Installation of the Noctua NH-L9i is very simple thanks to the SecuFirm2 mounting system.  There are no washers, inserts or other bits and pieces to line up with your motherboard.  All you simply do is put a drop of your thermal compound on the CPU and then line up the screw holes on the bottom of the cooler with the holes in the motherboard.  Once this is done, take the four included screws in the package and fasten them on the backside of your motherboard.

Mounting Back
Mounting Back

These screws have think non-conductive washers built-in so there is nothing to drop or lose and you don't have to worry about scratching or marring your board.  They are also designed to "bottom out", so keep tightening them in turn until they are snug.  It's that simple.

Top Down - Installed
Top Down Installed

Low Profile Installed
Low Profile Installed

 

That's about it for installation.  Now it is all ready to go.  Let's go see what it's capable of in the next section.